Netflix Developing New Ultraman Animated Feature

You know what's even better than Superman? ULTRAman.

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Godzilla is seeing a new resurgence of popularity with Western audiences, but Netflix is hoping we'll get on board with another Japanese icon: Ultraman. Variety reports that Netflix will be developing a new Ultraman in partnership with Tsuburaya Productions.

The planned Ultraman film will be an all-new feature meant to introduce viewers to the character. The movie will be separate from the 2019 Ultraman animated series, also produced by Netflix and Tsuburaya. The show, which acts as a continuation of the original Ultraman television series, has the son of original protagonist Shin Hayata taking over for him as the titular hero and member of the Special Science Search-Party.

With the goal of bringing in new fans in mind, the production will feature heavy western involvement. Tsuburaya is working in conjunction with Industrial Light and Magic to create the animation for the series, with Shannon Tindle (Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings) making his directorial debut on the film along with co-director John Aoshima. Variety describes the animation as being stylized, but breaking away from the typical style of Japanese animation.

The story, written by Tindle and Kubo co-writer Marc Haimes, follows a star baseball player named Ken Sato. In addition to becoming Ultraman, he ends up as the foster father of a newborn kaiju.

"Making this film is a dream come true," Tindle said in a statement. "What began as an original story inspired by my love for Eiji Tsuburaya's Ultraman somehow became an actual Ultraman film thanks to the incredible trust of the team at Tsuburaya Productions, and the support of the folks at Netflix Animation. We’ve assembled an all-star team and I can’t wait to share our unique take on Ultraman with the rest of the world."

Netflix is looking to cast a mix of Japanese and western actors for the feature. The streamer has not yet set a release window for Ultraman.

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